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Judge upholds conviction in highway deaths near Ottawa

By The Associated Press | 11/21/2012

LAWRENCE — A Douglas County judge has upheld the conviction and sentence of a Washington woman who killed two highway workers while driving on U.S. 59 north of Ottawa in 2007.

District Judge Paula Martin ruled earlier this month that Ramona Morgan’s court-appointed attorney committed some errors, but nothing bad enough to affect the jury’s decision.

Morgan had argued she received ineffective counsel and that her 26-year sentence was excessive.

Witnesses testified at Morgan’s 2008 trial that she drove around a pilot car twice in a U.S. 59 work zone on Sept. 11, 2007, and the second time struck and killed two workers. Morgan claimed she thought people were chasing her and trying to rob her.

Law enforcement officers had to puncture her pickup truck’s tires after a chase to get her to stop. Her earliest possible parole date is 2030.

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